Party: Tim ‘Wombat’ Vollmer, Joshua ‘Rocky’ Hill, Marta Mojžíšová, Roger Austin
With bushfires keeping much of the Blue Mountains and Wollemi closed, we thought an exploratory walk was in order to ensure we stayed clear of the hoards. Thanks to some feedback from some kindly canyoners, our trip became less exploratory with handy info about the best area to drop in and abseil lengths. Given those insights we felt better about taking Marta, who was visiting Australia from the Czech Republic, on an obscure “canyon” as her first experience of the Blue Mountains.
We did make it more exploratory thanks to me having a huge night on the drink the night before, requiring me to stumble home in the wee hours and ‘pack’ my bag in the morning. I made it on time, unlike Rocky, but had forgotten the all important map, so it became a serious test of memory.
Now while the trip was a bit of fun, and I won’t give too much detail because I don’t want to spoil it for others, it is not really a canyon, more a pretty creek with a few really nice abseils.
We started off down the fire trail, then headed in to the creek with an off track bash through fairly thick scratchy scrub. Due to some ‘debate’ over how high we should drop into the creek we decided to compromise, heading straight down the slope, which required an ‘abseil’ through some vertical scratchy scrub. As we got close, the creek suddenly turned into a rainforest, landing us in a lovely section with small cliff walls similar to the upper stretches of fortress. In fact, I couldn’t help thinking that if I ever did it again it would be worth dropping in higher.
As we walked there were some beautiful little grottos, and an amazing rock overhang that completely covered the creek, along with some nice wildlife like the little birds who hang their basket-like nests at head hight across the middle of the creek, the first of which I tragically crashed into. Of course there were also the usual plentiful yabbies.
For a kilometre or so there was wonderful walking, and enough pretty scenery to ensure the shutterbugs kept insisting on breaks. It eventually opened out, getting hotter, dryer and scrubbier. Every few hundred metres a cliff would close in or the creek move down a tumble of boulders, promising to turn canyon around the next bend, but the creek never delivered.
For the first abseil we set up a sling on a small shrub right on the edge of the cliff so we could abseil directly down the waterfall. A couple hundred metres on came the prettiest abseil, into a pothole, down to a pool and then down a final big drop, all the while spectacular views of Kedumba Walls and the valley stretched out behind. There was another decent drop then a few little ones which we scrambled around.
Finally came the fun part, an off track bash to the fire road, without a map thanks to my forgetfulness. Between the compass and my recollection of a possible route on the map, we scrambled our way through some thick bracken and a couple patches of lawyer vine, before eventually spotting the road below.
From here there was a simple road bash up Kedumba pass, back to the cars, and on to the Alex for a few beers, a meal and an honest admission to Marta and Roger I had actually been a little nervous about the navigation given the map situation.
All round a good day and worth the trip.